Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why do women oppress themselves?

Many people, both men and women, like to believe that women are not being exploited against their will. They think that women who prostitute, strip, make porn, or act promiscuously like doing what they are doing, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. And that if women don't want to be exploited and purchased by men, they should stop putting themselves up for sale. If you don't like stripping for money, then find another job. If you don't like sleeping with men for money, then do something else.

These ideas are so common it's frightening. Just think about it. Why would a woman want to lie underneath a disgusting creep who treats her like a product and have sex with him? Why would a woman want to dehumanize herself by taking off her clothes for random perverts who treat her like a piece of meat? These are not appealing career choices, but they are common ones. Why?

There are several reasons, but generally, this is what I believe: we live in a patriarchal society where men are the authority. It is natural for anyone to want to be accepted, and submitting to a man's desire is a way of gaining his approval. Especially since the subjection of women has been such a strong tradition, women are continuing with the tradition. Women want to be liked by men, just as most people want to be liked by the person in charge, and being liked by men means selling your body to them. It's a vicious cycle. Until patriarchy is dead, women will always seek approval from men, or the authority. But patriarchy will never die until women stop objectifying themselves.

I remember reading in a different blog that patriarchy is like Stockholm syndrome, where hostages become loyal to their hostage-takers. This seems right on the money to me.

There are other reasons why women are participating in their own oppression, such as being physically forced to do so. Many prostitutes are held against their will and are forced into sexual slavery by their pimps. They are kidnapped, beaten, and sold to brothels. Or pimps will recruit very vulnerable young girls, create a bond, and coerce her into prostitution as a means of showing loyalty to the relationship. After all, he was there when she needed him, and now he needs her to make them some money. Sex trafficking is a very horrific crime and I will blog about it separately, in greater depth.

Also, most women who are strippers or work in the sex industry are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. These women have been traumatized and have severe psychological problems. They go on to have unhealthy views of sexuality. "Often as adults they reenact their childhood trauma by working as strippers, Playboy models, and prostitutes. The men who, now as customers, physically and visually invade the adult women's bodies, reenact the role of the perpetrator. These women work in the sex industry because it feels like home." -

So, to everyone who thinks women want to be treated as sex objects, please reconsider.